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Chiefs vs. Chargers: By the Numbers

Taking a closer look at the Kansas City Chiefs offense against the Chargers

The Kansas City Chiefs outdueled Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers in several key offensive categories on Sunday besides just in the total number of points scored.

The Chiefs offense had more total first downs (22 to 19), both by rushing (7 to 5) and passing (12 to 11).

On third down, the Chiefs converted 7 of 14, while the Chargers, who came into this game ranked third in the NFL in third-down conversion percentage at 53.8 percent, finished just 3 of 10 on the day.

The Chiefs had 365 total yards of offense compared to just 251 for the Chargers.

Much of this offensive success had to do with the time of possession, which the Chiefs dominated (39:00 to 21:00).

But even with the excess number of plays and yards, the Chiefs offense still had a higher yards-per-play average than the Chargers (5.2 to 5.1).


Let's take a deeper look at some of these numbers for the Chiefs offense on Sunday

The Chiefs most popular personnel group of the day included three wide receivers, one running back and one tight end (11 personnel), which they ran 22 times in the game.

Seven of those plays were rushes that totaled 37 yards (5.2 ypc), and Alex Smith completed 8 of 14 passes for 105 yards (7.5 ypa) in that grouping.

Coming into this game, the Chiefs had used the 21 personnel grouping (two running backs, one tight end and two receivers) just an average of 10.6 times per game through the first five games. On Sunday, they used it 20 times and it was the second-most popular grouping on the day.

The Chiefs ran it 15 times for 52 yards out of 21 personnel and went 4 of 4 for 38 yards through the air with one sack allowed.

Overall, in any of the three personnel groups that involved two running backs on the field together, the Chiefs offense completed 8 of 8 passes for 81 yards.  

The Chiefs ran 29 total plays with two running backs on the field together with any different number of players together.

RBs number of plays on field together vs. Chargers
Charles Sherman Davis Thomas
Charles X 13 0 7
Sherman 13 X 8 0
Davis 0 8 X 1
Thomas 7 0 1 X

Obviously, these numbers can be skewed in instances like goal-line and short-yardage situations, but it's interesting to note that Jamaal Charles and Knile Davis were never on the field together against the Chargers.

In the first half, the Chiefs ran 12 plays on first down, averaging 2.5 yards per play. But in the second half, the Chiefs ran 17 plays on first down and averaged 6.4 yards on first down.

Of the 12 plays in the first half on first down, 10 of them were rushes and just two were passing attempts, with one of the passing plays resulting in a sack.

In the second half, the Chiefs ran the ball eight times on first down and threw it nine, although four of those nine pass attempts came on the final two-minute drive.

But running the ball 10 of the 12 first-down plays in the first half would seem to set up the play-action pass in the second half, which is exactly why on the Chiefs third play of the second half, they completed an 18-yard pass to receiver AJ Jenkins, which is diagrammed below.


The fake to running back Jamaal Charles, combined with right guard Zach Fulton's movement (all shown in red box), resulted in the Chargers linebacker's (black box) movement, which in turn opened a passing lane from Smith to Jenkins.

This is just a small example of the way in which play calling throughout the game affects what a defense is doing and how they're attacking certain situations.

The Chiefs had 13 offensive plays that went for at least 10 yards, and they came in five different personnel groups: twice in "12" personnel, three times in "21" personnel, three times in "20" personnel, five times in "11" personnel and once in "13" personnel.

The Chiefs found success picking up chunks of yards with any combination of different guys on the field together, which is just another example of how the offense was executing as a group and not just relying on one particular player.

It's much easier for defenses to stop one player, but when you bring in so many different combinations of players and those guys are put in situations to be successful, which is something Chiefs coach Andy Reid is known for, there's going to be success on the offensive side of the ball.

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